Following their success at the recent Central America and Caribbean Games (CAC), Ashley Khalil and Taylor Fernandes are keen on having even more positive outcomes as a pair in tournaments ahead.
The duo captured Guyana’s lone medal – bronze – at the Colombia Games in the doubles category of the senior ladies’ squash event.
They received commendation for their efforts, especially from President of the Guyana Squash Association (GSA), David Fernandes since they accomplished the feat after not having played much as a unit and without the luxury of playing on a doubles court prior to their departure.
The bronze was Khalil’s third medal in her appearances at CAC tournaments over the years while it was Fernandes’ first.
“It was definitely a major accomplishment for Guyana, and I’m very proud to have captured the only medal for Guyana,” Khalil revealed to Stabroek Sports during a recent interview.
The pair had defeated Barbadians – Amanda Haywood and Jada Smith – Padmore – 2-1 in the quarterfinals before being stopped by Colombians, Laura Tovar and Maria Paula Tovar 8-11, 3-11 in the semifinals.
Khaili indicated that barring a few errors, the experience of the games was “fun”.
However, playing together, as the duo recounted, felt rewarding since it was the first time they had joined forces on a court.
“We were just thrown into it…” Khalil explained with a chuckle, adding; “it was the first time we had ever played together. We were in Colombia and practised the day before the match, and that was it…”
Looking ahead, now that they have tasted success together, Khalil and Fernandes will turn their attention to the upcoming Pan America qualifiers set for the Cayman Islands from August 25 – September 2.
“I think right now we are feeling even more confident and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses… going forward we’ll be able to use that and hopefully bring home more medals for Guyana,” Fernandes said.
The success of the duo has ignited an interest by the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) to examine the prospects of having a doubles court in Guyana which can perhaps see Guyana better placed for more success in the years ahead.
Having earned the right to advocate for same, both players saw the wisdom in the move and supports the association’s intention to look into the construction of the court.
“I think if we were to get one, it would be great because apart from being overseas and playing on a doubles court, we don’t get to practice on one anywhere else… so having one would be a great accomplishment for not only Guyana but the Caribbean because we would be the first to have a doubles court,” Fernandes, a former junior Caribbean gold medallist, indicated.